Sunday, 31 July 2011

Records Smashed at Silverstone

Records tumbled last weekend as the Silverstone Classic reached new heights… With a total of 1104 race entries and more than 8000 classic cars on display, the 2011 Silverstone Classic (22-24 July) not only proudly lived up to its claim of being the 'The World's Biggest Classic Racing Festival' but also laid claim to being by far the biggest race meeting ever staged in international motor racing history.
The entire Silverstone site was taken over by an amazing array of competition cars spanning the decades, classic car displays and parades, a mass of different entertainment attractions and activities for the entire family, capped by sensational music concerts on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon. Both National and new Silverstone Wing pits and paddocks were crammed with a multitude of the world’s finest historic racing cars for what is believed to have been the biggest number of race entries ever recorded for a single race meeting held anywhere on the globe.

E-Type Action at Silverstone
 Scintillating action across the 22 races was admired by a massive crowd of more than 80,000, a new benchmark for the event since the turn of the millennium. Many grids were over-subscribed and the great racing ran right through to the final race of the programme on Sunday afternoon with a wonderful four-way battle for the lead of the capacity Pre ’66 Grand Prix Car race. On Saturday evening, the magnificent spectacle of Group C cars racing as the sun set evoked magnificent memories of Le Mans in the 1980s.
Famous racing names in attendance included Britain’s greatest sportscar driver five times Le Mans winner Derek Bell MBE, former bike and F1 World Champion John Surtees OBE and ex-F1 star Stefan Johansson, while on-track there was a memorable victory for the Aston Martin DB4 of Stuart Graham and Richard Attwood in the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy for Historic Cars. While Graham is the only man in recent history to have won a Tourist Trophy on both two and four wheels, Attwood relived memories of notching up Porsche’s maiden Le Mans 24 Hours victory in 1970.
The Celebrities pose with the Morgans
(Can someone please tell us who these people are?)
In the Celebrity Challenge, more famous names were in action as Rick Parfitt Jnr beat Heston Blumenthal and Brendan Cole in an exciting race in Morgan Roadster lightweight race cars. Luther Blissett emerged unharmed from a spectacular accident and Radio 2’s Sally ‘traffic’ Boazman told five million BBC Radio 2 listeners that she had enjoyed a fabulous day, despite bringing up the tail of the field with a cautious approach to her racing debut. To date the Celebrity Challenge already has raised £11,790 for the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK.  
Off-track, in excess of 7000 classic cars from 120 clubs packed the Silverstone infield with the E-type Jaguar taking pride of place in the key 50th anniversary event for Britain’s favourite sports car. More than 1000 E-types were on hand and in excess of 800 took part in a special track parade on Saturday which is hoped will set a new Guinness World record. Then, on Saturday evening a record grid of 52 E-types raced in the first of two special E-Type Challenge races.
Touring cars dominate Silverstone
"We believe that in terms of race entries this year’s Silverstone Classic was the biggest race meeting ever staged anywhere on Earth. And the fact that this vast number of entries covered such a wide spectrum of evocative motor sport history made the event even more special," said event director Nick Wigley. “The Silverstone Classic is now firmly established as the World’s biggest classic racing festival and we were bowled over by the number of entries and the size and enthusiasm of the crowd. It will be a tough act to follow as we have raised the bar again, but we are already planning to raise it further next year. We will soon be unveiling plans for an even bigger and better Silverstone Classic in 2012.”